Arriving In Cuba
The current exchange rate is around 1 USD = .93 CUC (6/12/17). We exchanged USD to EUR in the states and then once we got to airport, cabby showed up where to exchange at the airport, we exchanged EUR to CUC. We also had USD and they exchanged that as well. You can have your host help you exchange with locals for a better rate as well. Also, to avoid the exchange rate all together, you could withdraw Euros from your bank before your trip then change to CUC in Cuba. Euro is 1 to 1 with the CUC. (and right now 1 Euro = $1.12 so I would def recommend this 6/12/17)
Getting Around Cuba
What we did while there
This was the closest beach to Old Havana at around 25 minutes. We didn’t want to waste a ton of time in the car driving since our trip was short. So we met our cabby friends one morning around 8am (the city is asleep still at this point) and they took us out there for 50cuc and waited on us until we were ready to come back. Now this beach is known for its beach parties. And when we got out there at 9am, it was a disaster. Trash as far as you can see. We found a clean spot, laid down our blanket and made the best of it. Soon there after a tractor came through picking up trash. Then by 10am they had laid down the beach chairs and umbrellas and you would have had no idea they mess that was there hours earlier. So we grabbed a chair and umbrella for 2cuc each. Yes that isn’t a typo. And had a waiter bring us drinks and food for the rest of the day. Now I forgot sunscreen assuming it would be easy to find. It wasn’t. Thankfully we had the umbrella. The water was gorgeous. Not a lot of waves and very clear. By noon it was packed and lively.
This was another restaurant that was suggested from our cabby. He ranted and raved about how amazing it was and how when Beyonce ate there and they shut it down for her. It’s near the harbor and in a pretty community. The restaurant itself was very pretty and gardens were nice. The food was one of the priciest in Cuba we had at around $20 cuc. For the money I didn’t think food was all that great. But had a great atmosphere.
This was my most favorite part of the whole trip. Getting to talk to them and see what their lives were like. We spent a lot of time walking up and down the streets and watching people. What I noticed most was the family unit. Lots of moms, dads, and children together walking around. Also lots of school kids in their matching outfits. So funny even they stare at their phones endlessly. Its a global epidemic. Here are some pictures of the people doing their thing.
So would I go back? Probably not. Traveling is one of those life experiences that teaches you so much about yourself. And from this trip I have learned Im not big into traveling to 3rd world countries for vacation. It was hot too. Man was it hot. And there was no way to cool off except at the beach. Probably should have done that more than one day. I am so very excited I was able to see it but we could have probably done everything we wanted to do in 2 nights. in fact we tried to leave early but due to our failed wifi it didn’t happen. But on our last night we found my favorite restaurant.
Things to Remember
Bring toilet paper. But know you can’t flush it. Its hot and AC is not popular there. Don’t drink the water. Wear comfortable shoes. If you don’t like seeing stray dogs everywhere, stay home. Food wasn’t excellent but it sure was cheap. The city is asleep until 10am at the earliest. Coffees are tiny. Mojitos are plentiful. Half your money will go to people needing it more than you. They want your clothes too when you are leaving. Buy the Lonely Planet and download a Map. Time literally stops here. Longest days ever. Enjoy yourself, many people haven’t been able to be in your position in a long time.